Chinese scientists use synthetic cornea to restore vision
Liu Tianwen

Chinese ophthalmologists have transplanted its first synthetic cornea, with the vision of the patient's right eye improved drastically five days after surgery, according to a report by the China News Service on Thursday.

As the incision heals and the implant stabilizes, it is expected that the patient's vision will be better with the help of glasses or contact lenses, said Xie Huatao, associate professor at the Union Hospital affiliated to Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Synthetic cornea refers to an artificial transparent material implanted into the eye. The one used in this operation was a transparent biosynthetic cornea made of recombinant human collagen type III with high purification, according to Zhang Mingchang, a professor at the ophthalmology department of the hospital.

The 25-year-old patient has impaired vision – near blindness – in the right eye as a result of corneal damage eight years ago. Corneal transplant was "the only effective way" to regain eyesight, according to the hospital. 

Due to the lack of cornea donors, the patient decided to participate in the hospital's clinical trials of synthetic corneas.

Although the operation was a success, Cheng Yang, director of the ophthalmology department at the hospital, said that synthetic corneas could not cure for all disorders, and donor corneas are still needed in cases of full-thickness cornea transplant.

(Cover via CFP)

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